Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Plaid Skirts

Our mother was an expert seamstress, and she made a great many of our clothes when we were growing up. She even made great clothes for us when we were grown. On at least two Christmases that come to mind--when her daughters were all adults with children of their own--she made us clothes. That meant five outfits in varying sizes.

Going a little further back in time, I noticed that in several of the photos from the mid-1940s sisters Grace and Terry were wearing matching plaid skirts that were undoubtedly made by Mother. These skirts must have been favorites. As the girls grew, they could still wear the skirts. They did not get bigger around--they just got taller and the skirts got shorter!

So, here are a few of the photos starring the plaid skirts!

Grace, Michelle, Terry, Ronnie and Darryl Lynde.
Terry and Ronnie are wearing their rhythm band hats.
Michelle, Grace, Terry--don't know why Grace is wearing Terry's hat.
Here we are again, with our 3rd cousins, Harry and Eugene Prochaska. (I used this photo before here, in a different themed blog.)
The skirts look shorter, because the legs are longer!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Visiting the Past

While my feet are firmly planted in the present, I always enjoy the visits to the past that photographs provide. So much would be forgotten without those pictures that freeze a moment of time.

I started re-doing our mother's old photo album over a year ago, because it was falling apart. Most of the photos aren't dated and don't have any name identification on them. Fortunately, I know who most of the people are. They are the people who populated my childhood. I removed the photos from the old album pages for ease in scanning them. The tiny size of so many of the old ones from the 1930s and '40s makes them hard to see detail, especially with my somewhat compromised vision. By enlarging them, I can see so much more.

A bonus to removing the photos has been discovering that Mother had written notes on the backs of a few. They seem to be the ones that she sent to her folks to see and then return and, later, the ones she sent to our father while he was away in the army. I love finding those notes from our young mother--I just wish there were more of them!

Today I will share more of these "noted" photos.

Dorothy Mackey and Rose McLaughlin. It must have been
a Saturday, because Mother has her hair pincurled and
tied in a scarf. This one didn't have a note, but its companion, taken
at the same time, does. This one just happens to be a little better quality.
Take two from that same day in 1945. the note on the back of the photo
reads: "Terry took these of me and Dorothy. Sweetie slipped in again.
Ain't she cute?" (I had to enlarge and lighten the picture to see that I
was, indeed, lurking behind Mother.)
On the back of this one, Mother wrote: "Gracie took this.
See my new shoes." I think this is probably from before
the leaves came out on the vine in 1945.
By the way, if you didn't know it was 1945, wouldn't Dorothy's hair and pants outfit look completely modern?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oh, Those Genetics

Four and a half decades or so ago, when Jerry and I started our family, we weren't worried much about genetics. We thought we had good genes to pass to our children. The only exceptions: we were both near-sighted (I was much more than Jerry) and we both had alcoholism in our families.

The alcohol thing was my biggest worry, and I made sure my kids understood that alcohol could be very dangerous for them.

Jerry and the Kids. They both
were very healthy.
Now, so many years later, both of our children are dealing with genetic illnesses. They both have neuro-cardiogenic syncope, which came from me. I only found out I had it after Anne Marie was diagnosed. The problems she had with this condition were more severe than mine, but when, after more than a decade of doctors misdiagnosing her or telling her it was all in her head, she was diagnosed, I knew immediately that was the explanation for a lot of what I had experienced throughout my life. It also explained problems her brother was having. Taking a beta-blocker helps us all.

Both my children have celiac disease and must be very careful to consume no gluten. They didn't get that from me, but it explains problems their father sometimes had. He just didn't have such a severe reaction as they do.

Because my son is very nearsighted like me, we warned him to have his eye doctor check him for glaucoma and myopic degeneration, both of which I have and both of which can be linked to nearsightedness. Unfortunately, my son was recently diagnosed with glaucoma. His was caught at an earlier stage than mine was, but he still has some vision loss. His doctor is being very proactive in his treatment to save his eyesight.

While I feel like Jerry and I passed on some very good qualities to our children, it seems like they both inherited the genetic negatives from both parents. Our daughter, I am happy to say, did not inherit the nearsightedness. She has excellent eyesight and very good eye pressures. I am thankful for that. She has enough to deal with. For my son, I am grateful that his glaucoma was caught early. It can't be cured, but it can be managed to save his eyesight.

Genetics is a fascinating study. But when we have children we just have no guarantees that they'll "pick" just the best things in the gene pool and none of the negatives.

They are bright, hard-working, good-hearted, and honorable people. And I can't ask for much better than that.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Home on Leave 1945

Before his group shipped out for the Philippines in 1945, our father, A.G. "Red" McLaughlin, came home on leave. (Can you guess where I am in my re-do of the old family album?)

While he was home, there was some picture-taking, especially while Elsie and Lee Tyrrell and Edna Prochaska were at our house. Lee had been in the Marines in the Pacific theater for a long time, and was finally home. Edna was cousin to Rose and Elsie, and almost as close as a sister.

Here are some of my favorite photos taken that day.

Rose and Red McLaughlin, standing by
Lee's car.
View 2
Red and Lee
Lee, Red, Rose, Edna. Clearly, Elsie took this one.
Red, Rose, Elsie, Lee. So, Edna took this one.
Michelle, Red, Rose, Terry, Grace
I don't know the date of the photos, but it was after the leaves were out on that vine that covered our front porch, and before the Fourth of July. The Fourth of July was my fourth birthday, and I still remember that my birthday wish was for my Daddy to come home. The war ended while Daddy's group was on the ship headed to the Philippines. They were in the Philippines for a few months. Daddy received his discharge and was home by February 1946. I believed that meant my birthday wish had come true!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bathing Beauties, May 1945 Style

My fellow bloggers:  Do you ever get confused over whether you have already blogged about a certain topic? Sometimes it's like someone else wrote those 249 posts beginning in March 2012. I just spent time scrolling back through all my blog's titles to check whether I had already blogged about today's topic. It felt like I had. Now I realize that is because I did a page for the old album with these photos!

The time is May 1945.

The place is the reservoir just down the hill from the homestead log cabin where our mother grew up and where our grandparents still lived at that time.

It was a very warm May, obviously.

If Mother were still alive I wouldn't dare share some of these pictures!

Terry, Michelle, Grace
(Our birthdays are in June and July, so we were almost
eight, four, and seven years of age.)
On the back of this photo, which was sent to Daddy, away
in the army, Mother wrote: "Look at Sweetie's toes. The ground burnt her feet. Later she waded in mud till her feet looked like great big overshoes."
("Sweetie" was a nickname of mine. I see that Terry also has her toes
trying to avoid the hot dirt.)
Mother and Dorothy Mackey.
Bathing Beauties view 2. Dorothy was our Uncle Bob's new bride.
Dorothy was 16 and Mother was 29 that year.